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Katsumi Touko The Smith of Pretty Victories.

Death Ball

May 17, 2009
Preseason 2022

Gharriche finally comes back from his injury.

John Williams signs a young defensive midfielder for the future. He may develop into a good player.

We face a very smaller team to begin the preseason friendlies. Jebbour doesn't start in the right, with Robin there, because we don't have yet the left full back we need. A right sided could work. We use the same system than past season. The new 4-4-2 will be tested against stronger opposition.
A match like this can't be taken as meaning anything, but there are some very nice moves by the players. Kaabouni, however, is too worried about closing down in his less attacking position and leaves a player alone to score a great long shot.
Despite the seven goals, finishing could have been a little better, many shots at defenders.

If Badiane is as good as he has been here against tougher opposition, seeing as Vollert can play up top, probably his better position, I would consider offloading Emiliano Sala to make room for the left fullback, as funds are running out.

Roux doesn't want the trial; but I'm not interested anymore. We're well covered up front.

I offered a loan for Garbutt, as lacked the money for a full transfer; but the budgets don't allow to pay the €175K p/m fee needed. It's time to consider if selling Sala could be done.

Labidi breaks a cheekbone in training. He can be left in an specialist's hands for four weeks or play with protective equipment for four to five weeks. I send hm to the specialist. Gharriche dislocated his shoulder and is out for two months. Terminating his loan would save some money, tempting because I'm not too sure he'd do as good at this level; but the coaches tell me he's our second best midfielder and, since that wouldn't be enough to hire Garbutt, I'll keep him and accept I will lack a fullback.

Algeria has moved up to 31st place in the world rankings.

Slight changes because Agualusa, Robin and Badiane are fit and I want Jebbour for the Derby County friendly.
Not happy with the first half. We go ahead from a rebound from goalie into defender, which means no goal for Vollert with assist by Fabre. They even get a post hit. Still, second half will be the test for the 4-4-2. It shows some good positioning and promise. But then Aubin gives them a penalty to draw the match. At least it's a friendly what he robbed. Tweaking it slightly for more offence works to give us some nice chances, but their keeper has a great day some times and others the players get fixed on shooting instead of passing.

I've decided to sell Sala, who has been unhappy. Williams asks if I talk to him or he does. I'll let him do it
((Mainly because I hadn't seen it before and want to see how it turns out)).

Nobody wants him. Someone offers a loan, Williams rejects it because Sala's marked as unavailable for loan. I change it, offer, but he accepts then an offer without any payment, which doesn't help.

So I give up and remove him from the transfer list. He reports on being happy.

A few days later, another friendly. Some changes to avoid playing tired players, with McGahey as fullback.
We do some chances with most of possession, but no really great chance. Shots are often enough on target but positions are poor. Mele then misses an easy save like a buffoon and we're down. For the second half I'll test a three men defence.
It's not as solid defensively as wished, due to the wing weakness, which should be looked into; but offensively it's not been any worse. We equalize with a rebound goal. Another bad match.

Since we can't sign anybody, I ask the scout team to make a team report of Dijon's main, reserves and U19 teams to look for loan prospects, as only from them we can get the fullback we need.

the week delay for Garbutt's loan passes. I don't request a new one as no funds have been made for it and it doesn't seem it will happen.

We visit Varzim. All friendlies are away but the first and last. Still trying the usual tactic before we go on to tweak the new.
After a slow start we get in control, but finishing lets us down. I'll test telling Badiane to play differently, then for the last half hour we'll see the 4-4-2.
It seem to improve a little his play, but unfortunately he goes offside to waste a great opportunity. When Ikone makes it one up for us, I move to the 4-4-2. It works well, they see even less of our area and we don't stop creating chances. From corner and play we add two goals.

This is an important friendly, as we face a Ligue 1 rival, which is also our parent club. We come in with the 4-4-2, with Gnavor in right fullback as a glaring weakness. Not our strongest team, that's reserved for the next friendly against Derby County.
We have moments of slight superiority, but they're better. It's an own goal that puts us ahead. We compete. Jebbour picked a bruised head early, so second half will be a test of a 3-4-3. Gnavor has been a pleasant surprise.
Fabre gets a penalty that Sala smashes into the keeper. Then a mistake by McGahey lets them make it 1-1, later Legrand who's been told to mark their winger decides to run for the ball carrier that is already marked to give them the second. Robin, from his ball playing defender role, assists Cardwell for the final 2-2.
Worrying knock for Jabbour. Gnavor has done a decent match, not doing anything great, but what he had to do, he's done right. McGahey was making a great match until his mistake. Sala not earning to stay in the team. We were cointaining them well until the 3-4-3 of the second half, then they dominated.

Jebbour is out for just eight days.

I leave the bonuses to pay to be medium as funds don't allow any increase.

The Derby match comes and we go again with the 4-4-2. I leave the wingers as attacking, although in the previous match that meant they tended to go too high for proper ball retention or quick shift to defence.
We dominate the game and go ahead with a superb shot by Badiane. I observe Vollert is too high, so Kaabouni is basically the only support to the attack, so I change him to a false nine, hoping he'll drop and have more suppoer. He improves his positioning, but there's very little difference, so I drop him to advance midfield. In all phases we dominate and create chances, but Mele then stands too much to the far post in a free kick and lets it go in for a draw.

No fullback loans as we have already five loans made and can't make more. Henry will then be moved to be playing as full back.

Last friendly, after which almost all the squad should be match fit, except the injured and Jebbour, who's tired after finishing his recovery.
An easy first half leading to a 3-0 advantage and all the defence uninterested or complacent. Substitutions are made for fitness and protection against injury, though I risk Jebbour in left fullback.
Same result for the second half. We win 6-0 and it could've been more goals. The only negative is Fabre having a handful of quite good to excellent chances and missing them all. He's made an assist, but as a striker, he should be taking those chances.

There is a decission to take: end Gharriche's loan to get Dijon's fullback Colin, or wait for his recovery and use Jebbour in the left and Henry in the right, perhaps Robin? After all, Colin is the same mould of player as Robin. I think I'll keep Gharriche.

She's fluent in Arabic now.

P.S. - ¡NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! I forgot to load all Japanese players so Touko could manage Japan. :(

Death Ball

May 17, 2009
You can still add the league but most of them would be regens I think
No, I can't. Adding Japanese league means having a database and that needs to be added at the startup and it's not necessary to play the NT. What has to be done is, during setting up of the game, to go custom size of database and add all Japanese players. Then the game will be populated with enough Japanese to make the NT. As things are, Japan's squad is around eight players total and the game won't let me apply.


Mar 31, 2015
No, I can't. Adding Japanese league means having a database and that needs to be added at the startup and it's not necessary to play the NT. What has to be done is, during setting up of the game, to go custom size of database and add all Japanese players. Then the game will be populated with enough Japanese to make the NT. As things are, Japan's squad is around eight players total and the game won't let me apply.
Oh okay, is that something to do with the rights, like the Japanese and German national teams? That sucks :/

Death Ball

May 17, 2009
Oh okay, is that something to do with the rights, like the Japanese and German national teams? That sucks :/
I've got vibe of misunderstanding, so I'll specify I was speaking about managing the Japanese NT and I don't care about Katsumi managing in the Japanese leagues. I do have the database to make their names real, but without that database size it won't be manageable. I think that FM as in Germany is banned (was, it's been lifted this year) in Japan so there's some weird things, like custom league databases have teams where you can't have all the club info and tabs as in normal teams.

Death Ball

May 17, 2009
August 2022

In July we made almost a million profit, our balance is now much better, but still negative.

There's no news about what the betting companies say about it, but we're the top favourites to go down.

First Ligue 1 match. I go with my strongest selection for the 4-4-2, except Maillard for the still unfit Jebbour. I risk the two man midfield as I feel it can deal with them.
We make a cracking start to the match, with a goal by Ikone and a couple chances that are almost goals. But as things settle, they get into the game and a good play first, a Camara error next, puts them ahead. Amallah comes in for Vollert and we go 4-4-1-1 with Kaabouni behind Cardwell.
A good combination between Ikone and Cardwell gives us the equalizer. Since Yambare is looking very nervous, I'm bringing McGahey in his place. He also appears nervous. So I shall remember that next match, Sané must start. A cross from Ikone and a rebound are taken advantage by Kaabouni for the 2-4. I bring Robin in for Henry and near the end he lets a cross that eventually ends in they taking one back. Then I go defensive, wasting time, make wingers support and the match finishes like that, with a post for us.
What a great result! A win to begin. That's awesome. Only point of worry is defence, specially the fact of two of the first three ones getting nervous.

Cardwell is out for a month and a half.

Fabre wants out on a loan if he'll not start regularly. I'm willing to start him every now and then, but he sounded like he wanted more than I'm giving him for now.

We keep the 4-4-2. Not sure it's the best against another 4-4-2. Sané is in and Sala in for Vollert, Badiane for Cardwell. A loan offer has been accepted for Fabre, so Vollert is in the bench.
It's not so bad. We are competitive, getting more of the ball though less chances. But ours aren't bad. We're unlucky they get ahead, but Sala makes it level. Sané is also nervous. Only Perrin keeps his head. Sané also has a card, so I'm taking him out, I want no red cards.
We again begin a half strong, but it's the opposition that scores this time. Ikone makes it level later. As a problem is the absence of numerical superiority at the back, I bring Robin in and drop to a 4-1-4-1, setting him to man mark their striker that jumps the least. From then we're the only with chances, but as none is that clear, for the last ten minutes I close up shop, as a point is not a bad result. Zahibo gets a damaged shoulder, but with no subs to make I keep him in the field for like half hour.
A good start before our coming first defeat, as Monaco is our next rival.

Zahibo is out for two weeks.

We got a new attendance record in the last match, probably not being the one that survives to the end of the season.

This time I go for the 4-5-1, as Monaco has too much quality to match their 4-4-2. Robin will man mark one of their strikers, the one that's weaker in aerial play, to give us a 3v2 advantage back. Changes are forced by tiredness, except Jebbour to the left and Sawadogo in the rigth to get fitness. Badiane up for his speed.
Surprisingly we keep most of the ball after a bit of a shaky beginning. And get some shots. AND BADIANE PUTS US AHEAD! Jebbour picks a yellow card, which makes me think on bringing Maillard in his place.
In the second half Badiane is tripped and he picks a knock that makes him ask for a sub, so I move Legrand up top and Ikone to the wing. Monaco turns on the offensive play and begin to dominate, getting a goal when Robin tries to intercept a pass at the wrong moment. We get only two shots in the second half, none on target; but we do get a few very promisin plays.
A draw after being up is always somewhat painful; but this is a great result and a fine performance by the team. I'm happy with it. If this start of the season is carried over the full length, then I can see myself signing a new contract here. Only three games into the season, but seeing us above Monaco and PSG in the table is a very nice feeling.

Fabre has rejected the loan offers.

Maillard picks an injury in training and is out for a week.

Ikone and Agualusa, who was named in the team of the week, return to the side. Badiane remains up top to avoid changing everything there. Fabre doesn't make it to the bench because he's tired from the reserves match.
Agualusa starts the game with a superb solo effort to score. But from then, it's a string of defensive nonsense to let them have three. First defeat comes now.
A change to a 4-4-1-1 with Vollert behind Baudiane seems to work, as not only Agualusa scores his second, but we start to get chances, very clear ones too. But there's no third goal, and it ends 2-3, despite Henry making a penalty, as Camara saves it getting his foot to the ball after being fooled to jump the wrong way.
They got a domination we shouldn't have allowed, but it was the defence that let us down, so I'm not too unhappy.

We now keep 75% of money received in transfers.

This time we go with the 4-4-2. Centrebacks are changed from the previous match, as they were so poor. Fabre makes it to the starting eleven. Zahibo is back from his injury.
Another disappointing match because of the defence. Perrin insists on leaving the line to close down way up, though he doesn't really ruin the defence, it's Camara who insists on sabotaging the work of the defenders, by jumping away from the ball or showing a huge hole in the near post. I change to a diamond to try get something, but this is another defeat.
The diamond improves things, giving us enough good chances to draw, but while build up is pretty good, when it comes the moment to finish, the strikers get the same sickness than centrebacks. Instead they get a fourth goal from four buffoons looking the player they were in distance to close down to see him make an easy pass instead. Then Henry rounds up the defence day with a two feet challenge.
It's defence that's the problem, I'm also inclined to say Camara. That's why I wanted a new keeper. Now Mele will have his chances, but I don't think he'll do better. I decided to not be harsh on the players, but I'm quite displeased.

We're back in positive balance.


Death Ball

May 17, 2009
Septembert 2022

I've asked the board for more transfer budget in order to try sign a new goalkeeper. They've accepted it right away.

I then look for goalkeepers. Sivera and Garrat reject the contract offers. Good goalkeepers are either too expensive or won't join us. In the end, it's a pick between Pantilimon and Ruddy. Neither is rated by scouts buth both look better than any of our keepers. Both accept their contracts, I choose Pantilimon after several doubts, him knowing some French being the bit that tipped the scales, since the idea is a goalkeeper with whom the defence will work better and there communication and command of area are more important.

Fabre finally leaves on loan at the deadline.

John Williams has made an offer for Chelsea's Tom Davidson. He's a striker who looks to be good, but we have plenty of them, even without Fabre. However, I'm not about to straight up dismiss Williams' work and I'll offer him a contract. However, I'll try to make it less disruptive. He accepts being a rotation option.

Agualusa came third in the Player of August award.

With the African U23 Nation Qualifiers coming, I can take control of that team. But that's managing three teams at the same time and I'd end exhausted with so many traveling and different teams, so I'm placing the advert.

Last match of qualifiers.
The team is completely switched off. Mazari opens the score provoking an own goal, but then the defence is just lethargic and lets them get in loads of space behind.
The changes I do are defensive to stop giving so much space, as offensively things don't look bad. We get the equalizer in a free kick, but that's all.

Sawadogo gets a month injury in a reserves match to keep fit. A few days later it's Sané who gets a three weeks injury.

An easy friendly, with a line up avoiding to field tired players and allowed to play the full match, with the exception of Boutobba.
First half is as expected, though with only two goals.
Second half is the same, but the two goals don't arrive until injury time, by Saadi. They played around half an hour with ten through injury.

We play fellow promoted team. They're fourth. Last time we beat them 4-0. I'm back to the 4-5-1, with debuts at both extremes.
First half doesn't go too well. A mistake by three morons standing in the same spot with one of them going away from the corner target to give them the advantage. We have a few attacks to draw, but lack some edge. I feel leaving Badiane out and making it Davidson/Sala as striker choices was a mistake, two attacks I feel would've gone better with Badiane.
Things are better in the second half, each change to tactics improving it a little more; but there's no finishing to give a result.
Somewhat of an unlucky defeat. Pantilimon shows to be a good signing. The goal was despite him and he's doing brilliantly with some very good saves. With Camara, he'd have contributed and this would've been a 0-4 at least.

New attendance record.

"I want Badiane to be starter from now on". "How convenient, he's just injured".

Simpara, signed in deadline day by Williams, joins the team. He is very promising.

A team in relegation. This is a must game win. Since this 4-5-1 wasn't that bad against Lens, we keep it. Perrin for Yambéré and Cardwell for Davidson.
First half is promising, we create several plays of great danger; but the referee is intent on calling everything we do offside regardless of positions. The one he doesn't dare, Ikone hits the post.
It keeps like that, until Maillard decides when he's in the opposite flank, his duty is to look at the opposing goal instead of the ball or be ready to run back. For once the goalkeeper runs to reach the far post to cover the shot, but Pantilimon is just too slow. Immediately follows a great save but a rebound he can't control. And disaster is completed when their striker shots the ball between the joined legs of McGahey. We could have got three or four goals, but it's hard when Vollert's idea of being a striker is "I got a hole to shoot rigth now at inches, with defenders on top, it's the moment to stop with the ball" and Cardwell's is "I am a striker, in their area I stand still and wait the ball to come to me, not making efforts to be the first to it".
A very annoying result. We didn't play to lose. It was to be a draw or win, definitely giving three goals is way too against what was going on the field.

I do some rotation because in three days we have a more winnable, as well as must win, match and I want to ensure Kaabouni, amond others, are well rested for then. Olympique are eleventh.
It's been a good first half. We control possession and restrict them to poor shots. As things are, we're the more likely to come away with a win. Which means soon they'll score. Our offensive only needs some better passers. Many of our attacks have broken down because Legrand or Ikone have been inaccurate with their passes.
McGahey leaves because he was having a poo match, Perrin drops there and Zahibo comes in. Ikone gets an injury and Vollert subs him. Jebbour go in then as Maillard was doing quite well and I'll try to field him next match. Then Perrin blocks a point blank shot, getting the rebound at Yambéré's feet, but he just stands picking his nose ro allow a shot Pantilimon can't save. In attack, while the first half was a gallery of inaccurate passes is a gallery of offsides ruining great positions. After their goal we get a post and the easiest chance with a 4-4-1-1, in which Cardwell has just to tap in front, shoots across to where the keeper is.
A frustrating match for how Yambéré gifted them the goal; but overall a good display. This would give me optimism: like thise we may lose this match, but will win when we need it. But then I remember my second season with Vasco CT: good performance after good performance that were worthless.

Ikone's out for a long time.

I look for a new right winger, as we are with none due to Sawadogo being also out and I find a free transfer: Zakaria Bakkali. He's not great passer, sadly, but the few who are good passers are too expensive for what we can pay at this moment.

We drew with them in preseason. Today we can't have the strongest team by injury and tiredness, but it's a clearly stronger team. So is surely theirs. Sawadogo is still recovering, so Kaabouni plays right winger. Yambéré starts because Perrin ended the last match exhausted.
Yambéré opens the score early from a corner with a superb header. From then it's loads of offsides again and little danger from Dijon, but one great chance at a free kick by them, magnificently saved by Pantilimon.
We keep the dominance in the second half, though we don't get as many shots on target as I'd like. Agualusa scores the second and then I do some subs for fitness and a chance for Davidson.
Finally a result to match a good performance. We beat Dijon with a very good performance by Pantilimon, who's proving the best signing I've ever done.
And has changed my opinion on a possible defending bug. We get out of relegation places. Next match will be PSG.

We have an issue with tackling in the left side of the defence, as neither Jebbour or Maillard reach a 70% success tackling. That means in winter I'm possibly looking into a new left fullback with chances above 0 to end Maillard's loan so I can loan in someone else. Perhaps, with the new transfer budget and for half a season, I can get Garbutt in.

Agualusa, as seen in the team stats, is our best player, even making it amond the league's top at PoM awards and assists.

We're back to red.


Death Ball

May 17, 2009
October 2022

Bakkali has arrived. He lacks still a lot of fitness. Since the PSG is a match in which I don't expect a great result I think I'll field him from the start.

Club Sportiv Gaz Metan Medias come with a job interview. They're a Romanian team in Ligue 1, tenth placed, expected to finish second. Big squad but without right fullbacks. It's a tempting offer, as it seems closer to give me success in a top league and European qualification, but I don't feel it would be such a big difference and we can get out of relegation here.

I think what Katsumi would do is decline the interview, but this is a chance to see what happens regarding the board if I take it, so... After thinking about it, I've attended the interview, some more time to think it through. I think we're not far from being competitive and possibly Metan is not closer, but if things turn very bad here I may have time to try a new challenge. First result: confidence drops from 59% to 56%. Second: no board message being angry.

By their formation, I could only choose the 4-5-1. Their dangerman is Carvajal, top assists, top ratings.
They go 2-0 ahead in the first half, we do nothing. In the second Malone sends a penalty to the crossbar and the ball is cleared. Agualusa assists Davidson to give us a very faint hope, then an unlucky defelction to goal by Pantilimon and later he saves another penalty from Malone.
We barely did anything. PSG are way ahead of us. It occurs to me that, in reality, I came in sure of the defeat from the start.

The Metan don't give me the job. No matter, I'd have rejected it anyway.

A friendly against a very minor team.
A very easy match, in which they hack and slash the 90 minutes. Three injured players, one of which, a defender, they exploit to get an easy one on one.

Another friendly against a minnor team. Abeid makes it in for Mahrez, and the two others who came in for injured players are in the bench.
Another easy match, though with less goals.
And here's a bug: the 45 mins icon comes and goes in the pop ups and in the half time team talk, so I missed Fares was under instructions to not play more than 45 mins.

Sawadogo picked an injury in his international match that will keep him out for almost two weeks.

Algeria's now one place up in the rankings.

We face one of the "big teams" who are in a low, twelfth position, just five points ahead of us. Bakkali starts despite not being yet fit, Perrin is ball playing defender.
We have a quiet and balanced first half with little going. It's only luck that sees us go ahead from an own goal as the ball bounces of a defender clumsily intercepting a cross.
Past the hour, with nothing happening, right before they get a good chance, their only one, and we get another, I decide to secure the result. I set fullbacks to defend, I bring some fresh legs up front to compensate they'll be less suported. Legrand makes a superb goal against two defenders and a keeper who should've saved it.
A great win I was not expecting. I was happy with a draw here, but we climb some positions in the table. It's not just we got the goals, we were the better team.

Henry is reportedly jaded so I've promised him to rest next match.

Now it's the team we have rigth above and the other team that was promoted with us. Robin plays in Henry's place. Gharriche is back to fitness and will be in the bench. Amallah was tired, so Labidi makes it in midfield.
First half like the previous match but without goals. We have the better play, with several attacks failing in the last pass or cross.
The second half was the same and would probably ended with a draw or win, if the referee didn't decide to rob us, allowing a clearly offside goal. I changed to a 5-3-2 but it wasn't enough.
Very unhappy with the refereeing. This should have been a draw at worst.

Sevilla has sacked their manager, being nineteenth. And the favourite to land the job has less reputation than I. Very tempting. I've thought long and hard, I've not slept at all and I applied. This a one time kind of chance to get in a big club.

I receive a job interview offer from another Romanian club: Concordia Chiajna. They're eight, tipped to finish fourth, have just one right full back. I don't want them harming my chances with Sevilla, so I'm declining.

The 3rd round of Coupe de la ligue. We got another Ligue 1 team. I rotate as much as I can, regardless of fines for not keeping seven starting players from the last league match. Next is in three days and our priority must be the league.
The first half is quiet, neither team manages to create danger, just a handful of poor shots.
The changes based on the analysis charts seemed to work, but before they could culminate in goal, Davidson took the right fullback position for no reason and made a penalty. Then, as time passed we had to be more aggressive and the only thing coming was Camara covering a part of the goal that was well blocked by four defenders and leave the right side completely open. Sala also picked an injury. Other changes were to ensure Zahibo wouldn't be tired for next match and maybe Robin.
An undeserved defeat as it came from an absurd mistake by Davidson, but not concerned as the cup is not important.

Sala is out for a week. He could play with protective equipment, but I chose to let him to the physios.

We're given some money for the cup run.

Back to the league with an important match against the team right behind us.
Things are very quiet the first half. Changes are made for the second, swapping to a deep (two defensive midfielders, with Amallah in for tired Agualusa) 4-2-3-1.
The change works a treat and we begin to consistently threaten their goal. Labidi seals it with a goal from Henry's cross. I then drop Kaabouni back to central midfield to get more defensive solidity. Jebbour comes in for underperforming (in this match) Maillard. Then Badiane in for Cardwell just to give him some playing time and he makes the sacond from an impossible shot (two defenders on top, goalkeeper not badly positioned). The rest continues with us being the only side with chances.
We got the result we needed and go to midtable, but still too close to relegation. Projection in points/game says we'll stay up. Projection in points missed from must win at home says we won't.

Agualusa being the best. Passing completion isn't too good in defence, which is problematic as we often play from defence.

After wages are paid we'll be back in red.


Death Ball

May 17, 2009
November 2022

Sevilla offers an interview. If they give me the job, I bet it will be rigth before the Barcelona match.

Meanwhile, at Amiens, Sala misses his home and wants to go with mommy. I'll let him go.

Amiens react with an offer for a new contract. It's too soon to sign one.

Sevilla offer me the job! But their target is simply to avoid relegation, which is fishy and their last seasons have been mid table finishes, with one fifth two seasons ago, so I'm not too sure. I asked a team report on Sevilla, so I will decide based on how strong I feel their squad is.

The answer is they have some really strong players; but they're awfully lacking in defence and strikers, with only two players worth of Liga BBVA, one very good and one who's declining. No strikers to expect leading the scoring. Maybe Meftah, but he's a winger. And as I predicted, they've left the two matches pass before them facing Barcelona. I think I'll ask to delay it for one week to think it over. At this point, I feel Amiens is closer to giving me a competitive side than Sevilla would.

Sané is unhappy with his lack of first team football. I manage to calm him down without promising him more.

Davidson comes with the same concerns; but since he's scored recently, I've told him he'll start a few games.

We visit a top half team, seventh place and in a run of five wins. With their three man attack, the centreback pairing has to be the two faster centrebacks.
It's another very quiet first half. Our attacks break up, often by offside, others just players get tackled before they cross or pass. Lotient has a player sent off. I decide to see how things change merely by that and the answer is not enough. So at half time I'm trying a three man defence.
Bakkali has the easiest chance but he hits the cross wide, when there was no goalkeeper to stop it from going in. There's no other chance as clear, so for th last minutes I change it to a 4-2-4 going for the goal. With that we have some more chances, but this time Kaabouni is the one who misses the easiest one.
Not a bad result considering where Lorient came from, though the chance missed by Bakkali gives it a taste of disappointment.

Mele gets a month injury in a reserves match.

The decision about Sevilla is fast approaching and I can't make my mind. They lost the Barcelona match and are still 19th, six points from 17th with only five draws in twelve matches. We're out of relegation but only by four points. Our best players are for the higher part of mid table and our worst aren't too bad. We are fairly covered in every position. Sevilla's best players are top of the table, but their worst are not fit for the top division, also their depth is very thin. Also their reputation is far greater than ours, so attracting the players needed to improve the squad right now is easier for them. Also, finish learning Spanish.

So... What are your thoughts? On one hand, Sevilla is a high reputation team and probably there won't be a team like that to take anytime soon, on the other I'd really hate to take Sevilla to find those €3M aren't enough to make the squad competitive in January and going down while Amiens survive. Regarding effect on Touko's reputation, moving to a higher reputation team won't do anything. Also I had in my mind the idea of next season going not for a top level team, but seek some big one who was relegated by little margin to try win the second level to get them straight back up as the more likely way at the moment to raise her reputation. As such, perhaps it'd be better to reject them now and wait to see if they go down and sack their new manager then apply again.

Death Ball

May 17, 2009
Vote While I don't promise to follow the vote result (if someone makes a compelling argument or I realize something would definitely tip it for Katsumi then that'd be stronger) it's highly likely I'll follow the result. The part in brackets isn't to mean I'll ignore the vote but encourage to add a reason.

EDIT: After the two day break, I'm resuming the game, so new votes will be too late to change the decision.
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Death Ball

May 17, 2009
November 2nd part 2022

I've thought it long and hard and I've consulted my friends out of the team. They are right: Sevilla is as they are for a reason. They may have top quality players, but with no depth at all, any injury hit, specially in defence, means no more results. Add to it those top players are well past thirty years old so they're in decline and need replacement. Sevilla needs a complete overhaul of the squad. Amiens just touches here and there. Better than sign for Sevilla would be to ask Amiens for a new long term contract. I reject the contract.

A friendly I use to test some tweaks to the system.
We control the first half, but end goalless. Meftah shows that a striker at Sevilla he'd do as underwhelmingly as I expected.
The touches made in half time improve things a little, with a little better ball retention; but we give them their clearest chance, that Khedaira saves brilliantly. We win the game, but our first goal took too much to arrive.
The expected result. The changes introduced to the system seem promising, though as with any formation without a DM, defensive solidity is an issue to keep an eye on.

With the increased budgets, I try to buy Garbutt. The team accepts a low €350K fee, but the player asks for way too much money. I'll try loaning him in January, though that means ending the loan of somebody, Gharriche most likely or perhaps Badiane because we have plenty of strikers.

Back to Amiens, against tenth placed team who last had lost 0-6 against Lens. Gharriche makes it to the starting eleven at last. His chance not to be the loan ended would I bring Garbutt as a loan. The system has a couple tweaks in which the rigth winger is an inside forward and the fullbacks are explicitly instructed to run with the ball by the byline.
We start a bit underwhelming but improve as the first half progresses. Gharriche makes a very good match, with good passing and positioning. Davidson makes a great turn around lob of the keeper from outside the area to put us ahead.
Second half continues the trend, with two great chances shot at the goalkeeper upon the hour. We made them sub their rigth winger and then sub the sub because we nullified them both. Upon the last fifteen minutes they turn very aggressive on the attack and I change to park the bus, which ends working.
A nice win that opens some more distance from relegation zone, two points from the target for the first nineteen games.

The transfer money retained from sales is cut down.

They are placed seven and they like to close down. It seems a good opportunity to play the ball around them. There's some rotation mainly because next match comes in five days.
They control the first half, we are only able to finish one attack with two shots. Their attacks at least have not been too dangerous so far. A few tweaks at half time as their right wing seems the more active: Maillard given a defend duty, Legrand dropped to left midfield, Gharriche to deep lying playmaker.
Second half goes the same way. At 60' I make some subs and lower the tempo to the usual. Only a slight improvement. In the 86th minute Legrand heads a free kick into goal and then I close up shop, going defensive, wasting time and fully to a 4-1-4-1 with Davidson as defending striker. We can't stop them from having some good chances, but Pantilimon is there to ensure the result lasts to the end of the match.
A great result that sees us complete the first half of season target of points as well as getting us well into fulfilling the comparison to winning at home and losing away. Perrin will be suspended for the next match, which is perfect, because I was counting with him being tired for then.

The African Cup of Nations groups stage has been drawn, we have what I believe not to be the hardest group.

Mihajlovic comes saying he's unhappy with Badiane's lack of first team time. So I finish the loan.

Against a relegation zone team. A three striker formation. McGahey comes in for Perrin and Cardwell for Davidson as well as the rest of starters.
The match starts horribly, with the defence conceding a cross to gift them an easy goal. I change nothing and soon enough we begin to take control. We have some very nice chances and Labidi equalizes.
So things remain the same for the second half, except Sané in for Yambéré. Cardwell makes it 2-1. Then a copy of the first goal to make it a disappointing 2-2. After that we continue dominating and have three excellent chances, but the three are shot at the woodwork from close range, which makes the draw infuriating.
We should be ninth, a point behind Lens. Oh well, this is the reverse of the previous match we should've just drawn.

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May 19, 2016
I think it was a good decision to reject Sevilla and stay for the rest of the season. A good mid-table finish should help your reputation increase and hopefully then some bigger teams will come calling in the summer!

Enjoying your story.

Death Ball

May 17, 2009
I think it was a good decision to reject Sevilla and stay for the rest of the season. A good mid-table finish should help your reputation increase and hopefully then some bigger teams will come calling in the summer!

Enjoying your story.
Indeed. I'm very happy with the decision and glad you guys voted it (I took it because of the poll result). Looking, they've played at the point I'm at five matches, two draws, three wins and they're out of relegation. But even then I don't regret staying, since that squad would need such a big overhaul, I don't think I would make it competitive in a while.

At this point, and there's a spoiler, I've just got an interview offer, so nothing is sure to happen, from a not bigger club, but one that fits my thoughts of what I wanted to do next with Katsumi that makes me almost convinced to make the move as it would speed Katsumi's rise (if it goes well). The only doubts are about how may the reputation go in each instance of goals achieved, which one might be more interesting to test and that it was voted to stay in the past poll and then though I stayed I end moving her too soon after. I also have a couple of targets for the winter window that would address some of the weaknesses. So moving is not something I'm 100% for, but at the moment I think I will take the move. I also suspect you (plural) will think it's a mistake and it may even be a mistake.

Death Ball

May 17, 2009
December 2022

December, winter transfers approaching, it's the time to think on what can be done to strengthen the squad. I think there are two places to improve: centreback and midfield. A quick centreback and a midfielder who's good at carrying the ball and move up. Labidi isn't doing bad and Kaabouni can do it, but the later I feel is more effective as a creator and that would leave me with just one. In centreback, Perrin and Yambéré have earned their place and Zahibo can make for a decent back up of Perrin, which means not only Sané can be sold, but also McGahey, specially if I get Garbutt, as that would free Jebbour for the right side and that in turn can take Henry back to the centre. In midfield and with so many strikers, Vollert also is surplus; he has barely played.

Then McGahey, Sané and Vollert will be put in the transfer list. Only the first of them comes angry at the decision, but I stand firm. He's also the first to receive and offer, after a second offer.

Emiliano Sala had been given a month to leave home and has returned, not wanting to leave anymore.

The board requests a meeting to talk about club improvements and perhaps extend my contract. I feel it's too soon to decide to stay longer. I'll attend though.

Considering my thoughts on how Amiens is closer to give me a competitive team than Sevilla was, I probably should take the extension; though I was also had the plan on trying to take a team I could promote as top of a second division. I think the team has some promise, so I take it.

I see Alexis Fabre isn't registered and has played very little for his club, so I recall him from his loan. This also has sense in I have a target for transfer who may have to be loaned this season, which would mean ending Cardwell's loan.

Kaabouni is given a rest and will come from the bench. Davidson returns to the starting eleven to prove his worth.
We seem the better team in the first half, but just barely and doing better. We'd be drawing 0-0 if the referee hadn't decide to rob us. He calls penalty for a clean tackle by Perrin, nothing when their defence almost breaks Sawadogo's ribs. Changes to get the goal improve things but not enough. Since Sawadogo wanted to be subbed, the second half will test the 3-5-2 and the zonal defending in corners.
The system doesn't seem to work bad, but we do nothing with it. As previous times, by lack of precission in last passes. Bringing in Kaabouni for Labidi and advancing him forward in the last minutes didn't work, though.
A match that should've been a draw, but the referee robbed us. The stats are deceiving, as apart from at least four shots coming from a single play, they got that many once we were less cautious in defence.

Robin is unhappy with his lack of first team time. He's been very good when I've used him, so I'm giving him the starts.

Here you have the Coupe de France selection requirements. Fine is negligible so I don't care to follow them.

Vollert is the first player to confirm his destination. Next one is McGahey. Sané still is failing to attract any offer.

CD Nacional, from Portugal's top division offer me an interview. They're thirteenth, their squad doesn't look too good and their finances are terrible. No way I'm taking this job.

Williams has renewed Fabre's contract and I've given up selling Sané.

Aaaaaannnnnd... Ipswich offer me a job interview. Now this is one that's really, really tempting. They're fourteenth in Championship. Sure, that's not top level, a low table position; but they're just seven points off play offs and they also have a well balanced squad with definite quality to be quite higher and, unlike Sevilla's case, their quality is young. It also fits my plans to take a team from a second level to promote and increase my reputation better than an overachievement in midtable obscurity. I will take the interview and if they offer the job then I'll have a decision to take.

With a match from the first leg of elague postponed since ages ago, we begin facing teams for the second time. We drew at home. Robin makes it to the start and Zahibo does as well.
I had started with longer passing to look for changing the ball from one flank to the other, but seemed to be giving them the upper hand, though no great chances. I lowered the rhythm and made some tweaks. For some reason Pantilimon decided a header is a kind of shot to crouch to save so we're one down. Further changes didn't have a great effect, though Davidson got our best chance, blasting the ball over the bar.
Seeing how we finished the first half looking better, I decided on not making any changes. I was proven right. Agualusa buried a through ball from Labidi, missed another great chance later, Davidson redeemed himself scoring from a tight angle after a one two with Bakkali and made it a sure win right before the end.
A win that sees us continue our slow climb up the table and reach our best position yet.

I get Cardiff to accept €375K now, plus €1M over four years and Sané for their centreback Gyombe; but the player asks too much. Were I to accept his demands, we'd run out of budget for another of the deals we need and his wages would get bloated fast. So I move for a cheaper alternative that's physically lesser but we can afford, Logan.

The board comes again asking me to stay. And tell you what, seeing how we're at this point where we are, I think it is worth staying.

I raise expectations to avoid relegation comfortably, I don't want to add pressure to the squad aiming for a mid table finish. I also make them not to ask for young signings. While I'd like bigger budgets, the balance is not good so I don't request more. I think as things go, it is worth letting Ipswich offer pass.

Now it is Cardwell who wants more starts. It's fair, he's barely played and he's supposed to be a first team and our best striker.

I've decided to give the 3-5-2 a run against a strong side and see how it fares. Because of Perrin being tired, Sané makes a start and McGahey is in the bench.
The start is promising: while we create nothing, defence looks good and always keeping superiority where it matters. It's all ruined by Henry when is more worried about asking an offside call than intercepting a cross. We don't falter, keep making them try shots from bad positions and, with a tweak to keep possession and some luck, Davidson draws level.
Second half keeps the apparent domination by Monaco that is actually domination by us, since the game follows my plans and not theirs. A couple of subs for fitness (Zahibo <> Robin, Sala <> Davidson) and all stays the same. Near the end, Sala sends a through ball in space for Cardwell, but he shoots from the edge of the area with the strength of a syphilitic ninety years old. However, we retain the ball, Zahibo passes through the defence and CARDWELL SCORES!!! I shut up shop or whatever and it ends.

Logan's transfer is confirmed. A couple of days later, Sobhy signs his deal with us; he doesn't dribble as well as I wished, but otherwise is the midfielder I wanted.

Legrand is unhappy with his little playing time; but Agualusa is being excellent. I promise him a loan out, as it's not likely his time on the pitch will be very high.

Girondins offer me a job interview. They're at the edge of relegation. Refusing is a no brainer.

We go against another strong team using 4-4-2. I repeat system, though I have to rotate because of tiredness. Legrand makes it in midfield and Labidi as wingback due to lack of fit options.
Legrand opens the score with a long shot to the corner of the goal. Yambéré then goes to sabotage the team, first gets to the end of a cross to deflect it into our goal and next he stands in no man's land to leave his mark alone. Also Jebbour must explain what was he doing defending to the left of the area in a throw in, forcing Legrand to mark his winger. Legrand also picked a back injury, but I'm letting him on the field. I just swap the striker force and play wider.
Second half begins with a freak cross gone into goal, so all is too hard. Sala gets one goal back but there's no third goal to draw.
I ran off early to cool off so I wouldn't slap Yambéré all over the place and then whoever makes the ratings. So Yambéré who makes an own goal and allows their second, gifting them two goals that were the difference between defeat and victory is rated with 6.6m 6.4 when we were 1-3; but Zahibo, who had no role to play in any of the goals conceded is 6.4, 5.8 when 1-3?! I don't know who's the most idiotic imbecile, Yambéré or the guy giving out ratings.

Legrand will be out for nearly a month.

Wow, Legrand is no longer unhappy.

With a month to begin the African Cup of Nations it is time to choose the Algerian squad. This time I remember to bring Taïder back and Rachid goes out. I also bring Boudjarane instead of Madi, as the later is not brace enough. Both injured players will be out of it with weeks to spare.

Mele picks a three weeks injury in training.

Wha-? Huh? I got a manager of the year of Ligue 2, not the season as it's logical. Well... YAY! I got the Manager of the Year for Ligue 2! I forgot that award existed and after the stupid choice for the seasonal award I didn't expect to get it.

We get a positive balance the first day of a month.

Passing accuracy at the back is still a concern, specially because we try to play from defence.

The Ligue 2 manager of the year award hasn't raised her reputation.
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May 19, 2016
December 2022
Sala sends a through ball in space for Cardwell, but he shoots from the edge of the area with the strength of a syphilitic ninety years old.
Haha you should look into doing commentary as a profession! The best quote on this site!

Also congratulations on getting manager of the year - well deserved.

Death Ball

May 17, 2009
January 2023

I couldn't offer a loan until the transfer window opens, now that's first January, I can't because Garbutt has signed to move away in the summer. That's a plan screwed up. No big deal, it opens room for another potential loan for a winger who can pass. Same has happened with Ryo Matsushita, the second option for left back signing. It appears we'll stay with Maillard/Jebbour for the left side.

Gyomber's agent comes offering him to us. But I've already signed Logan and, even if I don't have Garbutt and would sell Sané, I still think I don't need another centreback.

I'm allowed to change expectations. Raise in budgets isn't meaningful and I don't want to put too much pressure on the squad, so I don't change it.

Sobhy and Logan finally join the team.

Williams makes an offer to yet another striker. He doesn't look bad, but we have many. But it is for next season. Not the kind of signing I want for the next season.

Finally somebody makes a bid for Sané. It's quite low, but I'd rather free his wages and avoid a disgruntled player.

The board comes to talk about a new contract. I'm fine with the vision, as discussed previously. The contract means €7.75K p/w wage, increased from €4.6K p/w, and two more seasons. While I think I can improve Amiens, I'd not like to get same result next season and be stuck for another one, so I'll try to set it to just one more season, accepting lower wages if necessary. They take it down to €6K p/w.

I receive a surprise visit. I don't know who he is. It seems somebody has make an offer for a left back. He's not too bad as an offensive fullback; but at the moment he's not needed and may make the pending loan deal to fail.

Boutadjine picks an injury that will keep him out of the Algerian team for the African Cup of Nations, so Rachid comes back.

In less than ideal news, Williams has gone to a physio hiring spree and he's eating the budgets. The loan I was so hopeful to get and any new signing is now out of the question. Thank you, Williams. These things you do after the transfer windows, not at the start!

Krovinovic decides to join Hull instead of us, so that midfielder or right winger who can pass is out of the question now, it seems.

Uhm, now the budget available is not lowered as much. Scratch that: Insigne can be loaned in and I find one Declan John that could be a good left fullback back up for Maillard.

Perrin picks an injury that'll keep him out for almost two weeks, missing the Metz game most likely.

Many first teamers due to injuries or lack of fitness. I leave this match to the assistant.
As before, that means key highlights with intervention only in subs
A very disappointing match. We won but let them have two goals. Debut goal for Logan. Henry scored in his first match of the season as centreback. Fabre scored in his first match back. Only Sobhy didn't score in his first something.

The only friendly before the competition.
We dominate it and concede only at the end, when the players are overconfident.
I could've skipped both matches and save on planes.

Yambéré picks a week injury in training. And Logan gets a virus infection to last the same the same day, yay!

Wonderful. Insigne's deal has been cancelled. The five loan limit is not five loanees but deals. Which I think happened already past season.

Declan John's deal, however is confirmed. His crossing isn't as good as I was told it could be, but it's just a decent back up.

Tenth round of the cup against Olympique Lyonnais. We're really got only three centrebacks fit and a lot of tired players from reserves matches so the formation is basically forced upon me. Though I want to get through, I don't want to risk injuries because of it. Again, Pantilimon has to start because Mele isn't fit and Camara is on international duty.
Robin has the idea of running further from his mark to try head the ball when it's three men above his head instead of staying close and head it off when he barely needs jumping at all, so they get ahead. I make little changes, just swap Bakkali and Agualusa, making both attacking inside forwards and set John as wingback attack. John gets an injury and Jebbour takes his place. We begin to dominate the match, with a handful of very good chances with poor finishing.
We keep up the domination in the second half, with more good chances, but only once the ned is found. From Jebbour to Robin to redeem his initial mistake. There will be extra time.
With tiredness, the extra time becomes more balanced and nobody gets any decent chance. Jebbour is tackled hard with four minutes to go and I take him off just before the end. The reasoning is he's a poor penalty taker, should the penalties go very long, we may come back to have our best against their worst.
Sala... in. Peña... saved. Cardwell... at keeper. Jelic... in. Henry... in. Pineau... in. Labidi... in. Duda... post. Bakkali... slow motion. Suagher... in. Robin... in. Somoza... in. Gharriche... in. Martins... in. Amallah... in. Lespérant... in. Pantilimon... in. Benyahia... in. Zahibo... defelcted in. Dias... in. Sala... in. Fali... in. Cardwell... in. Peña... in. Henry.... in. Jelic... in. Labidi... in. Pineau... deflected in. Bakkali... in. Duda... in. Robin... in. Suagher... in. Gharriche... in. Somoza... in. Amallah... post. Martins... in. Idiot Bakkali, I knew I should've placed Robin ahead.

The worst is John out for three weeks. Jebbour out for a week, but he can play with protective equipment.

A match that we should win but it's not clear both because we lost the match at home and because we have several tired players_ defensive midfielder and rigth half of defence.
The first half is a joke. What's the point of fitness when the defender fit is the one to give them a goal and the one tired is the one to make an assist? At half time I drop deeper but close down more and bring in Perrin for Robin, who is exhausted.
In the second half we still seem to have the edge but keep allowing them chances, though they seem a touch less in numbers and danger. I have to take Agualusa off for Sala after he picks a knock. with 15' to go. Four minutes later Ikone draws a penalty from Poncec, who gets a yellow card, and Sala takes it. A minute later Doncec gets the second card but they still have one more chance.
The result is good, but the match doesn't go completely satisfactory.

Agualusa will be out for a week.

Tours are paid €26K from Zahibo's transfer.

We begin our African Cup of Nations campaign against the weakest team of the group, just the day after the match against Metz.
the first half is the expected domination,t though there are a couple attacks that looked threatening by them. We go ahead through a Boudjane shot from a corner.
The second half continues the domination with better results, as Saadi scores twice. There are a lot of other chances that are missed.

Williams made a deal for a 24yo right winger, but he is average passing, not interested.

I try to sign Carles Gil first and then Gastón Ramírez as right wingers with good passing but Gil wants too much money and Blackburn asks too much for Ramírez.

Second game. Mali drew their first match against Egypt, which means a win here sees us through.
We start well and dominating, with a Saadi goal; but then the defence gets into their thick skulls their job is knocking the ball to the feet of the closest striker. So I give them a scolding at half time and rush for the plane to show my disconent and get to the Amiens match in time. It was gifting their the goal and the players giving up altogether.
The second half followed my instructions to be more attacking as the end approached and it works with a great strike by Fares according to my assistant.

We face the team right ahead of us. Kaabouni doesn't start as I want, depending on how the match goes, try him in a wing.
It's the international day of stupid centrebacks, as Perrin decides that if the striker he's marking moves to the centre, he has to take the full back position and ask the fullback to take the striker. Bakkali assists later for Ikone, but their right winger makes a good play to dribble arond Labidi and make a superb cross.
The second a good through ball plus bad decision by logan to move up and Pantilimon can't do anything.
A $%&#@"· disgrace of match. Full of "hey, a runner from deep, I must give a pass behind him!" "I'm the most advanced player and I'm the left winger at the sideline, this header I have to send forward and to the left". Idiots.

Jebbour will be out for three weeks. Next day it's Davidson.


Death Ball

May 17, 2009
(Just saying I got a laryngitys and between it at first and then the treatment I've not been in shape to do anything. I had just begun and after a couple of games I've stopped until I get past all this head spinning and feeling like ****. Story should continue in a few days, as it feels like today may be the last, though probably I won't open FM tomorrow either)

Death Ball

May 17, 2009
February 2023

In transfer deadline day, Williams makes an offer for a right winger, Ferrán Ortega. I'm for right wingers, but he's average passing which is not what I want, so I cancel it.

Chevallier signs a deal to come at the end of his contract. He's a seventeen years old striker/midfielder who's already a first team member of mid table Ligue 2 team.

And with five hours to go, Williams finds the rigth winger I wanted! Or so he may be.

The deal is confirmed for next season.

That's all in the transfer window. This is how this season transfers look.

Some changes are due to tiredness. Boudjanne makes it in because of Belkaroul's poor match. Mahrez is better than Abeid there. Bentaleb is the stronger choice and Bensebani is better fit. A draw is enough if Mali doesn't win by three or more goals.
Saadi gets us ahead right away, some minutes later Meftah has the second in his boots but manages to get tackled when the easiest thing was to push the ball in. And then just like the previous match, the team switches off like the work was done and gift them three goals. Again most advanced player keeps making headers forward and standing still like his job was giving the ball to the opposition's defence. Towards the end of the season the team begins to try again and Saadi closes the half with his second. Mali is drawing 1-1.
We keep knocking at their goal the second half. They find a through ball to make it 4-2 and Mali is ahead. I'm thinking we're out in the stupidest possible way. But then Banin scores twice and Fares, Saadi and Bensebani take three chances, we close up shop and we end winning and going through top of the team!
Egypt are the current holders of the ACN title, so they're no weak team and beating them is a good result. I'm still very unhappy on how the defence disconnects when we're up and begin playing like a voudeville act.

We'll face Ghana in the quarter finals in four days.

With that match, my Algeria team sets two records. Ghana will beat us.

Full strength team for the visit to Lens, with Robin in as only rotation from that.
Very equal first half except when one consider the quality of the chances created. We go to half time one up from an indirect freekick, but before we could've got two more if shooting had not been so weak. Perrin got an injury so had to be taken out.
The second half they refuse to listen and consider the match won. They refuse to do any effort. Run to get the ball? That's for losers who haven't won already. Zahibo passes the ball behind Sobhy, because it's fun to troll team mates in a match and Sobhy, instead of turning to get it, accelerates to go further away.
Very unhappy. This should've been a win, perhaps adraw because one of their goals were actually a good play not gifted to them.

To make things worse, Perrin is out for a month. The next day, i get another physio report, this about Pantilimon. It's a disast-no, just a flu that will last three days.

Kheche is back in the starting XI as is Bekrar. A small tweak to tactics, as the side defenders are set back to fullback support and no longer told to push forward.
The match begins quietly, but we go ahead with a rebound. After that, we begin to get into the match and our chances begin to follow each other, but without luck.
Only a change at half time due to Bentaleb's low condition. We've not yet won this, but I want him available for the semifinals if we make it. Khedaira makes an effort to ruin the match, when the defenders leave only one angle to shoot at and he decides not to be there. Luckily one of their centrebacks decides to be as daft and allow Fares to get the rebound from a Bekrar post hit. It's annoying to see so many good chances sent softly at the keeper and then the one that shouldn't be scored go in. But they get a corner in so it's extra time. Meftah had the perfect opportunity to pass to Fares alone a couple meters away, but shooting at the keeper weakly was his choice.
At the edge of finishing the first half of extra time, at the end of a great counter, Berkar gets a penalty and Fares converts it. For the second I'll do changes to park the bus without forgetting the penalty shoot out. We still get two great chances, but in one Fares is offside and in the other Meftah hits the post.
I'm not happy we had to win in extra time, but we're in the semifinals and that's the important part.

That is also getting above the expectations for the team. Nice.

Boudjarane picks an injury. Bad news as he's one of the starting centrebacks.

It's time for the semifinal against Congo. We're favourites. Fares starts because Saadi is tired, mahrez because I think he'll do better. I'll see how this formation does at the start and it may change, since the diamond can be tricky with this.
It seemed to work well so I retained it. But Satli ran past his mark and blocked Bekrar allowing for an unoppossed long shot that Khedaira couldn't save.
At half time Kheche goes off because he's on a card and very tired. Same with Bentaleb minus the card.
Second half seemed promising, but soon enough Rachid lounged himself with two feet tat a rival and that's the end of it.
Satli's mistake and playing the extra time past match costed us too much.

It's time for the last match with Algeria, for the third place. Lots of jaded and tired players, being just two days after the semifinals.
A quiet first half that ends with need of two changes due to tiredness of Mahrez and Kheche.
We begin to kick in the second half with the fresh legs, but it's tired Meftah who gets the winning goal. They lost a man to injury in the last minutes.
Another third place.

I made it to the Ligue 1 match. I had to run off as soon it wasn't rude to the Algerian players. I still don't know how did I made it in time. With injuries, Henry returns to the centre of defence and Amallah to protect it.
The first half is balanced, but we have more of the ball and better chances, with Cardwell missing a fairly decent chance.
In the second they are more aggressive, but their attacks aren't threatening. That is, until from a corner our players decide running is too tiresome and Zahibo is left with too many threats to deal with. After that we go more offensive with a 4-2-3-1 and get some good chances to go ahead but finishing is as terrible as it's been lately. When it's not weak pushes to the ball it's shots to the keeper or off target if no keeper could save the shot.
Another disappointing result. I'm starting to tire of these forward players inability to aim and pass.

Algeria's FA is happy with my managing; but with so long until the next competition, I'm stepping down.

Olympique Marseille come to our stadium. Agualusa comes back to the starting team.
Ikone opens the score very soon with a good individual effort. We seem to be slightly better, but OM are too good to keep them from having chances and Yambéré is too lethargic to intercept a cross, like Pantilimon and we end the half level, despite a couple of chances that go off very narrowly.
I change nothing as it was individual errors that cost us the goal and otherwise we're better. We don't have luck, however, and the match ends with a draw.
I come off the match with the feeling of a missed chance; but it's not a bad result, considering nobody thought we'd get anything.

Legrand also comes to me upset because he's not playing and he'd be better off. He has two or three players ahead now, doesn't pass well, which is what I want, so he's likely not to play so I tell him I'll look for a new team and then he says he wants to stay.

Looking at scouted reports from France I see a young goalkeeper with potential ending his contract, so I sign him up.

I lose my assistant manager to Dijon, which we'll face next. I find a suitable substitute right away.

Gharriche and Labidi start again, otherwise it's unchanged.
A joke of a first half. Strikers shooting time and again at the keeper, when midfield hasn't walked the ball into opposition feet, Maillard contesting headers by backing off and Pantilimon blocking goal's sight to imaginary players.
Second half starts similarly. We're having a promising counter attack, Ikone carries the ball, he decides better than pass the ball for Cardwell to run onto or let it to Kaabouni for a pass with better angle, the right thing is to push the ball five yards to the middle of four opponents piled up. Maillard repeats by telling the left half of defence to run up twenty yards further than the rest of the defence so they can send the ball behind them, and then run to catch up to their striker and say "I've got level, no need to tackle or anything!" just so Pantilimon can decide standing right by the post is too boring and better to leave a couple yards between and refuse to move and try to reach any shot. Then Henry says he's the closest to the ball and it'd be unfair for him to try get it, that better Zahibo does it so it will be more thrilling. That one doesn't end in goal, fortunately. I change some things out, go to a 4-2-4. But the men from the bench are the same. Labidi sets a great through ball for on side Cardwell, but he and Fabre decide it's better for the later, offside, to need to lose his lungs running after the ball so the goal is offside. I stop giving any attention to all this ****.
Lately they look more like they want to lose the way they gift balls and goals in the stupidest ways. I guess Perrin has been giving us a lot more than it seemed.

Terrible month. Only one decent result. Perrin's injury has sure been felt.


Death Ball

May 17, 2009
March 2023

We're most likely to lose heavily, so I'm taking risks and experimenting. Simpara gets his debut, Ikone will prove himself at central midfield.
The first half goes mostly as expected. PSG dominates the match and we can't do anything. The only good point is they don't get that many chances. Camara makes some good saves. Then at the verge of half time, Davidson receives his first ball and passes it into space for Cardwell and he makes it 1-0.
The second half is away. Simpara gets into a good position after some good play by Davidson, but his shot is blocked. In the last ten minutes I change things to close up shop, but Zahibo manages to make a draw against PSG frustrating instead of a happy achievement, when he brainlessly walk into a bad control by Tim Malone to get the ball bouncing back to his feet for an easy shot. When Kovacic sees the second yellow I stop being so defensive, but we get nothing.
It is a very good result, but the way Zahibo gifted them their goal makes it taste sour.

Then sixth of March comes and with it the youth intake.

We have some very promising players there. Let's see them:

If his passing was better, I would already give him some minutes with the main team.

Very good physicals for his age.

He's got the passing and the vision, but lacks in the part about deceiving the rival to beat him and execute his ideas. Weak though, every time I tried to push him, he went off flying.

Fast enough for his position already. He needs to improve his technical abilities. He also needs to learn to keep his head focused. He fell for every trick I did to him to distract his attention.

A player who can play from midfield to striker. A shame his passing is poor. He has a lot more to improve than the others, but were he to do, he may yet be a good player. Also it's so easy to make him fall over.

The worst player of the reviewed so far. Though he's quite good at communication and handling. He's also almost too brave.

His poor jumping makes him not a good choice for centreback, though he has time and age to improve and grow. I think he's being underestimated and he can be more than just a good player.

This kid has some good parts in his play for his age. I'm not sure where he will get to, but I think he's worth to be accepted into the youth team. He's also ambitious, which is good; though I'm not too happy how he kept losing the temper when I tested his strength with the pushing exercises. I got him facing the wall like a misbehaving little kid for half an hour.

Those are all the youths I offered a contract to.

Davidson, Cardwell and Robin are now no longer unhappy with their lack of first team time.

Legrand returns asking to leave, again. I tell him I'm selling him and, this time, he accepts.

We're using the same system since it worked so well against PSG's 4-3-1-2. Labidi, Kaabouni and Bakkali return to the line up. Camara is awarded with another start after his good performance.
We get a quiet first half, in which Lyonnais doesn't get much to our area, though a couple of poor attempted offside traps let them great chances saved by Camara. This time we also get our chances, a few more than them and Robin scores from an indirect free kick.
At half time I drop Bakkali into midfield as a trequartista to link with midfield, as strikers were too far ahead. The game ends being a repeat, except with several good chances we shot at the keeper. A match we should have won thrown away by stupid defensive mistakes instead of the opponent pulling a good play. Zahibo starts by breaking the offside (one that is given against us several times), then he and Henry run to no mans land between striker and the man with the ball and Yambéré completes the idiocy by thinking the danger from a striker eight yards from goal is a back pass.
Another match with a result that would be good but ends tasting bad because of the way their goal was conceded. At least we go up in the table.

We return to the 4-5-1, but the system sees quite a heavy overhaul and it's now meant to be more of a 4-3-3 in an attempt to get a balance between the 4-5-1 and the 3-5-2 to fit the wide players. Set pieces are organized around the zonal marking of the 3-5-2 system, which has seemed quite solid when used.
The first play ends in an offside by Bakkali after a minute and a half, but it shows already some good signs. Twice they arrive to our area with some danger, due more to individual mistakes than system weakness, though there's a lack of capacity to latch onto some clearances, with the midfield three too close to each other. We do have our own chances, some of which could have been goals another day.
When Henry heads a ball to Jebbour's feet, the rightback refuses to take it, gifts it, then follows the wrong man, Sobhy and Amalla don't communicate, both try to cover for Jebbour and open a huge hole for their striker. Cardwell rescues the match in a counter. But Jebbour insists on wanting to lose, so then he goes on to leave open the door for a cross nobody tries to intercept. Then, for good measure, Pantilimon keeps on his later form, in which he forgets how to catch crosses, picks a point in the ball's path and waits for it to get past to run there. Henry and Jebbour almost make it four again when the first lets a ball go past two inches above him and Jebbour again refuses to pick it at his feet. Cardwell scores again but has not time for a third.
Very unhappy. A good match by much of the team thrown away by an incompetent defence.

Davidson will be out for almost a month.

It could've been a great month but has ended being terrible thanks to defenders just not putting in any effort.


Death Ball

May 17, 2009
April 2023

We visit a team in relegation. Minimal tweaks to the new system are made. Perrin is finally fit to play, not so Camara after the two weeks break, so Pantilimon has a last chance to keep his place.
Disappointing first half, with very little done and still many defensive errors. Bakkali specially annoying. I'm fine with him not going back to help the fullback, but crashing a pass into his defender, have the ball stop a yard behind him and refusing to pick it is a different level.
Second half is worse, the tweaks seem to help but players don't do anything right. In the 53rd we have an excellent choice to score, but Kaabouni decides a virtually empty goal and less than a yard from the ball is unfair and stops, leaving it to hope Bakkali can somehow get past the defender he has on top to tap in, of course he doesn't. Ten minutes later, Sobhy sends a ball to Cardwell in a counter and Cardwell chooses to run away from the ball's path. Then Sobhy again, in another counter, sprays a good ball to the wing for Kaabouni, who is in acres of space, but he just slows down for no reason waiting for the defender to tackle the ball out for a throw in, because seemingly a 5v3 was too much advantage for his liking.
Graeme tells me to praise the players. The **** I'm doing that. They keep being shameful. At least this time, with Perrin back, the defence has behaved and though they had a lot of chances, none was really dangerous.

Just minimal tweak to the system.
We're the better team in the first half. Less shots, but better ones. We miss the chance to get ahead because Zahibo, having beat the keeper sent the ball to the post and so did Ikone later.
In the second half we get more shots, keeping quality of chances, but the finishing by Sala and Labidi doesn't improve that of Cardwell and Bakkali at all, so it ends with another 0-0 despite Perrin's attempt to blast the ball into Logan to blame an own goal on him.
It's looking like the only decent part of the team is midfield. Goalkeeper form comes and goes for both, in defence take out Perrin and it comes down crashing. striker force is unable to hit a barn.

We play without a playmaker this time. Selection almost entirely forced by tiredness.
We are in control of the first half, with some decent chances and ball retention. Sawadogo picks an injury, stubbed toe, and Yambéré a yellow card. Sawadogo scores twice... from offside.
Camara breaks the game when he decides not to aknowledge the striker that's going to head the ball and runs like crazy to grab the ball or block it from going for a goal kick, which would've been moot if John had not been at a side of the area, all by himself just to break the offside. I changed to the 3-5-2 ad shortly after got a penalty that is converted by Henry. Then Jebbour in a freekick to see the ball past his man to shove him for no reason than to return the penalty. Luckily Camara redeems himself with a save. The formation has not worked well defensively, conceding several chances, but allowed us to have some chances not from offside.
I'm getting tired of draws. And now relegation is just five points away.

Sawadogo will be out for a week.

Perrin, Kaabouni, Ikone and Robin return to the starting line up. Others remain from last match as they didn't do that bad, specially Gharriche, who was good. Perhaps Jebbour didn't deserve to stay. A bit of tweaking is done to the roles in midfield. Right one CM-S, left AP-S.
We finally make a great first half. We control the game and get the goals, with a Cardwell's hat trick. We do concede one goal later, but this time it's a good play by their winger earning a clear cross rather than defenders idiocy. Perhaps you could say Robin or Gharriche might have done more, but it's not that clear they could. What I could ask is them not letting the scorer as alone, but they did good job overloading and the scorer running from deep.
In the second, Montpellier tries to get back, goes more aggressive; but their efforts never get close, so no reason to change anything. We still have some chances and Ikone misses a superb opportunity to increase our advantage: he hesitates between an easy-ish shot and an easier cross for Sala to tap into an empty goal, ends sending the ball between both options, achieving neither.
At last a win! And we finally reach the forty points that are usually enough to guarantee staying up. It shoul've happened much eariler.

Starting team is unchanged, with just Labidi coming to the bench in place of Legrand.
We compete well for most of the half, except for that play in which the team, after Gharriche I think let the ball hit his face, decide to defend the way fans ask players to defend: like headless chickens running all after the ball, constantly leaving spaces for a forward pass.
Second half is an improvement, but some bad luck with rebounds in a corner gets them the second. Perrin scores after from another, but Camara then doesn't know where to stand and jumps before closing on the target of a cross. and though we have several more chances, theres no luck.